Monthly Archives: August 2009

Exit Wounds by Rutu Modan

Exit Wounds by Rutu ModanI wasn’t sure what to make of Exit Wounds when I first opened it. It’s not normally the sort of graphic novel I read. Although I didn’t really connect with Koby or Numi, I found myself drawn in by the backdrop of Israeli daily life.

The story is about Koby Franco, a cab driver, who learns from a soldier, Numi, that his estranged father may have been a victim in a suicide bombing. Koby reluctantly agrees to help Numi find out what happened.

What intrigued me about this story was the honest look at the harsh realities of life in Tel Aviv. When Numi asks people about the suicide bombing, she always has to clarify that she means the one that happened in Hadera, not Haifa, the latter one apparently having been a bigger explosion. In another instance, a woman in the mortuary smiles and informs a man that of course he can have a video of the body, he only need supply the blank tape. Such moments like these and the many more included in this book all come across as normal, daily conversation.

As for the artwork, I liked the clean, simple lines. And it’s because of how mundane the violence has become that the pastel colors worked so well. The soft muted tones helped dull the harshness of it. And that makes sense. I would imagine there’s a numbness that must exist to keep from going insane in such a setting. People adapt and find ways to cope.

The plot, however, was missing something. I didn’t feel any need to find out the mystery behind the disappearance of Koby’s father. At times it seemed more like a way to just pass time. And things happened to and between the characters that didn’t seem believable. But then maybe we weren’t given time to know more about the characters. I’m not sure.

In any event, it’s certainly an interesting read at least for the cultural backdrop.

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An interview with Rutu Modan:

Ruki vs. her bed

Ruki vs. her bedAah, Ruki. My crazy little cat. She has this thing about attacking her bed.

“It’s evil and must die!”

But of course it is, dear Ruki.

Today, she started gnawing on it like usual. Then she flipped it over, flopped on her back, and rolled side to side. By the time I got the camera out, all I was able to capture was her mid-roll. The flash caught her eyes so it looks like she has her super powers activated. Must be how she was able to defeat the bed so quickly. :P

And here she is sitting all proper as if the attack never happened–I’m just not supposed to notice that the bed is upside down I guess. :D

Ruki vs. her bed -- triumphed!

Echo Volume 1: Moon Lake by Terry Moore

Aah, military cover-ups, experiments gone bad, and people on the run. Woo-hoo!

Echo sucked me in and left me itching for more. It all begins with the military attempting to terminate a project. Funny how things never go according to plan….

Julie Martin happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. She’s taking photographs in the desert when she hears an explosion. She looks up and sees a jet, so she takes a picture of it. Then liquid metal pellets rain down on her, sticking to her and her truck. She flees for cover. When she returns home, the metal starts to reform over her skin, creating powerful armor. The military, of course, is not gonna just want that back, they are gonna want her dead…witnesses and all.

Moore did an excellent job with character development in this story. He takes the time to let us learn about Julie and her messed up life, which makes this out to be the beginnings of a nice origins story, I think. The interior artwork is black and white and I thought it was well done. Expressions in particular I noticed and liked. I also loved the inclusion of Einstein quotes. “Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.” They fit perfectly.

I can’t wait to read volume two!

What the hell is a greybon?

Over the years I’ve gotten asked a lot about “greybon.” Usually it’s “What the hell is a greybon?” and “Why greybon?”

I’ve used greybon as my standard online username for a long, long time. It only made sense for my personal blog to have the same name. Let’s see if I can shed a little light on where it came from and why I use it.

My dad subjected my brother and me to many years of Jeopardy. It was our routine to have dinner on tv trays while watching the show. My dad tried to break that routine he’d established once when company was over. He actually tried to make us appear “civilized” and sit at the table. Laughter ensued. “Right, Dad. I’ll get the tv trays ready…” :P

In any event, one night we were watching and this Canadian guy with long frizzy blonde hair was on. His name was Greybon. I remember thinking, what the hell kinda name is that? I guess it’s only fitting that I get that question at lot too. :P

Then when I was in college I got a teddy bear for Valentine’s Day. In thinking of a name, yes I name my plushies!, that name came back to me.

After college I needed an email address since my college account expired. My name is so damn ordinary that it’s hard creating usernames with it. So I went with greybon and have used the name online ever since.

But why was I drawn to the name so much? I think that’s best answered by breaking down the word. grey + bon “Grey” is an alternate spelling of “gray,” while “bon” means “good” in French. So basically, grey is good (yes I have a habit of using the “e” variant of its spelling). This is fitting because grey is the center of black and white. It’s position between the two colors is why we refer to something that is impossible to define as existing in “grey area.”

I do not like to be defined. Categorized. Classified. Labeled. I never have. And to me, “greybon” is a celebration of being happily undefined. :)

What about you? Do you have a username you get questioned about a lot? Why did you select yours?

Steampunk slideshow on Film in Focus

Jeff VanderMeer has a pretty nifty slideshow up on Film in Focus.

In anticipation of the release of Shane Acker’s steampunk-influenced animation 9, Jeff VanderMeer presents a primer on the fantasy subgenre.

Film in Focus has a lot of wonderful extra content on their site. It’s easy to get lost in all of it. Go check it out. It certainly helps pass the time waiting for the movie to come out! :P

And since you know I love posting trailers, there you go:

(via Estatic Days)

Batman Beyond returns in 2010

Batman BeyondLooks like we’re getting a Batman Beyond mini-series next year! Yay! This is my second favorite animated Batman show, the first being Batman: The Animated Series, of course. (As much as I ♥ Justice League, I don’t count it since it’s not Bat-centric.) Seriously though, one can never have enough of the good Batman stuff. :)

Here is the post from Newsarama:

“There will be a Terry McGinnis mini-series early next year. We’ve heard the fans, we’ve heard everyone’s interest. And right now we’re planning to put out a Batman Beyond mini-series in 2010.”

- Dan DiDio, today, from Newsarama’s “20 Questions and 1 Answer

Now, how cool is this? Growing up with Batman: The Animated Series (or B:TAS) and Batman Beyond and all the creations in the Timm/Diniverse, this is just great news. For those readers who aren’t familiar with Terry McGinnis, let me fill you in.

About ten years ago, Batman Beyond aired introducing us to the Gotham City of Tomorrow. We see a Gotham without a Batman and it’s not pretty. Terry is basically a juvenile delinquent whose father works for Wayne-Powers Industry. On the run from the Jokerz (a street gang that idolizes the Joker) he ends up at Wayne Manor where an old Bruce Wayne defends the gang off, but collapses. Terry takes care of Bruce and wanders around the mansion and discovers the Batcave. Bruce scares young Terry off, but when Terry gets home, he finds out his father has been murdered and later discovers that Bruce’s partner (Derek Powers) was behind it. When Terry asks for Bruce to help avenge his father (and is turned down), Terry takes matters in his own hands and steals the new exo-batsuit to go after Powers. Bruce is furious and actually shuts down the suit remotely, but Terry convinces him that he should don the cowl. Bruce takes the youth under his (bat) wing and hires him as his chauffer and personal assistant, which is just a facade and trains Terry to be the new Batman.

The series was fresh, fun and full of techgasms for people like myself. There were cameos as well, as Superman actually had a bit part in a few episodes and introduced the new Batman to the new Justice League. McGinnis was offically part of canon in Superman/Batman #22 and #23, though he was mistakenly called “Tim Drake”, but was later remedied. McGinnis also made appearances on Justice League Unlimited, which had ties to that show’s canon (namely John Stewart’s and Hawkgirls’s son, Warhawk). The series also paralleled some of Bat-mythos such as Terry falling in love with a criminal (Ten, from this generation’s Royal Flush Gang). Though, the REAL kicker here is what happens in the JLU episode “Epilogue”, which serves as a finale in ways to Batman Beyond. It’s so good, and so out there, I couldn’t spoil it on here for those of you who haven’t seen it.

I’m excited DC decided to re-ignite this franchise, even if it is a mini-series, but do you readers think?

(via Topless Robot)

The Princess and the Frog – meet Dr. Facilier

From Cartoon Brew:

This week on Cartoon Brew TV, we offer an exclusive behind-the-scenes clip, courtesy of the Walt Disney Company, from their forthcoming hand-drawn feature, The Princess and the Frog.

In the video, supervising animator Bruce Smith (Bebe’s Kids, The Proud Family) discusses the character of Dr. Facilier, the villain of the film, and how voice actor Keith David influences the animators work and the character’s performance. David is shown performing and being directed by John Musker and Ron Clements. There are also some brief bits of pencil tests and color footage that hasn’t appeared anywhere else on the web.

After witnessing Disney abandon their hand-drawn films several years ago, and watching the rest of Hollywood consumed by CG, it’s incredibly exciting seeing classical character animation being produced on this scale. Sometimes you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. The Princess and the Frog marks the return of a beloved moviegoing tradition: the classic Disney fairy tale, and no one is rooting harder for this film to be a success than I. Based on this preview, and clips screened at Comic-Con, I’m convinced the studio is on the right track.

We thank the Walt Disney Company for allowing Brew readers this early peak at their film. The Princess and The Frog opens in LA and NY on November 25, 2009, and nationwide on December 11, 2009.

(via BSCreview)

And in case you haven’t seen it yet, here is the trailer:

Scherenschnitte

Scherenschnitte means papercutting in German. I know, I could just call it papercutting but I like saying scherenschnitte. It’s harsher sounding and that’s just fun, really. :P

My mom introduced me to it, but it’s been easily more than ten years since I’ve tried it. It felt like it was time to give it a try again. :) I decided to try it out with an image I found online and with paper I had on hand. Here’s the image I used as my template:

Zwergenmusik und Drache

Pretty, isn’t it? Some details got lost when I knocked down the resoltion so be sure to check out the galley for the original and more fantastic creations too! I think I aimed too high for my first attempt after so many years. It’s a hell of a lot harder than I remember. But here’s what I ended up with:

Scherenschnitte

It’s rough. And I skipped out on some of the detailing. What I learned is that cardstock (the only paper I had on hand) is much too thick for this. And I shouldn’t be trying this when the humidity has my joints as swollen as they have been for weeks. Hand = hella pain. I also want to get a swivel head blade since that will help with the rounder edges, I think. Guess I need to hit the craft store soon, eh?

My goal is to one day be able to make stuff like this and this. Better yet, I want to eventually design my own. Steampunk owls a plenty…huzzah! :)